2016 was an outstanding homeschool year for us and our partnership with The Schoolhouse Review Crew made it an even greater success! We had the ability to review several homeschooling resources that we probably would not have had in our home otherwise.
A tremendous benefit of being a reviewer is that we often receive a whole curriculum or subscription in exchange for our time and effort in using the product and providing an honest review. Some products, although fantastic, may end up being shelved or become out-of-sight-out-of-mind. For us, these were typically set aside simply because they did not fit into our educational needs at the particular time. Several, however are incredible products that replaced previous curriculum altering our homeschool experience for the better.
Here are some of our top favorites – in no particular order:
I can not say enough about Here to Help Learning. This has been our primary writing program for both The Boy and Sweetness as well as one of two programs that we are now using for Bookworm Beauty. We are on our final assignment for Flight 1. We were blessed with a 1-year subscription as part of the review and it is coming to an end this month. The kids are so thrilled with this program that we will be purchasing the monthly subscription to continue working through Flight 2 and 3! Fortunately, it is a tremendously budget-friendly program providing access to the entire site for only $6.99 per month. It is a one-stop-writing-shop for a whole family, even at different writing levels! I have a feeling this is going to be a mainstay for us. Mrs. Mora is a tremendous teacher. Her and her hound dog, Captain Knucklehead, have basically become a part of our family.
Demme Learning’s Math-U-See Pre-Algebra Digital Packs (read my review)
Every homeschool needs a math program and without a doubt, this is the best program I have seen! Bookworm Beauty is only a few lessons away from completing Pre-Algebra and we will definitely be investing in Algebra I in the coming weeks. Math is made simple and concepts are quickly grasped. We were so impressed with Bookworm Beauty’s success that we switched both Sweetness and The Boy to Math-U-See’s Beta and Gamma programs.
What can be better than completing an amazing science curriculum? Completing it with friends of course! We have thoroughly enjoyed studying astronomy and fortunately for us, our dear friends already had the same curriculum ready to begin in August (during our review period). I purchased the additional student workbook (the review pack provided 2 of the 3 that I needed) and we have been steadily working through this program together. Apologia is topnotch in my book. We have even already acquired the Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology to commence as soon as we are done with Astronomy.
This was one of those reviews that we were able to actually complete during our review period. Bookworm Beauty nearly devoured this, as well as all things Laura. She read and watched everything Laura Ingalls Wilder in 2016. Laura became such a huge part of our household that we actually planned a pioneer road trip as a result of her interest in the topic. I simply had to include this in our top reviews for 2016 because, well, it was about Laura Ingalls Wilder… and Bookworm Beauty loved studying about her through another person’s eyes.
When I first started with The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was struggling with teaching writing to the kids. It was a daily struggle. Here to Help Learning was one of our first reviews and we had wonderful success, immediately (as noted above). Shortly after, we received Writers in Residence. I was hesitant. I finally found a writing curriculum that was working for us and I really didn’t want to interrupt our momentum. I am so glad that I did! We continue to use both products with Bookworm Beauty. Volume 2 is supposed to be released in the near future… and we fully anticipate investing in it.
Sweetness is one of those kids that rises in the morning ready to absorb all that the day offers. It doesn’t matter what we are doing for the day, she is always positive and completes her work without complaint. It is a tremendous joy to have a child (and student) like this. I don’t always know for sure whether or not she really enjoys a particular subject because she greets them all with a willingness and excitement to learn. However, I know that she loves working through this literature program because I find her working through it on her own during non-school times! We have completed Little House in the Big Woods and are almost done with The Courage of Sarah Noble. We will be ordering student guides for The Boy next year.
The sign of a well-loved bible, according to The Boy, is duct tape… but when duct tape can not be found, any tape will suffice. This bible has definitely been well loved as it is held together by tape! The Boy seems to always have it within an arms reach. I find him up late at night, wearing his head lamp under his blankets, reading. I see him carrying it to the table to work through Awanas verses. I watch him avidly duplicate pictures in the bible with his own Lego blocks. Nothing melts the heart faster than witnessing a child love the Word of God.
This is by far the best one-stop-homeschool-resource-shop! There are hundreds of online classes available that can be browsed by grade or by subject. Whenever we discover a hole in our homeschooling boat, this is the first place we turn to locate a resource. I am amazed at how much this site has grown and changed in just the last year… and it keeps on growing. Schoolhouseteachers.com is a definite must-have tool in your homeschool toolbox!
There are more, these were just our top favorites. We love the enrichment that ArtAchieve (read my review), Zeezok Publishing LLC‘s Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades (read my review), and High School Spanish II by Middlebury Interactive Languages (read my review) has provided us. These have not become daily staples in our homeschool repertoire but we still use each of them periodically.
We also have to note that there were several review items that are not part of an on-going routine for us because they were short and sweet supplemental studies that we were able to actually complete during our review periods. These definitely need to be mentioned because each of these products were not only completed but enjoyed and appreciated. These include Many Nations a 4-week micro study on Native American nations by Homeschool Legacy (read my review), Mr. Popper’s Penguins E-Guide by Progeny Press (read my review), Book 1 of The 13 Series: The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins (read my review), Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co. (read my review), Home School in the Woods‘ History Through the Ages Hands-On History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections (read my review) and the Appalachian Trail Unit Study (read my review).
Wow… after reviewing our reviews I am feeling accomplished. I just went through a year’s worth of memories. These products were each fantastic and we are thankful that they were part of our homeschool journey during 2016. We are well into the 2017 review race and are excited to see what we will get an opportunity to review this year. Stay tuned… better yet… start sharing your own homeschooling journey and come join the Schoolhouse Review Crew!